By Kyle Casey, Staff Writer
The 2013 NFL Draft was full of surprises and could go down as one of the most unexpected drafts in years. Despite the value of quarterbacks in the NFL today, only three went in the first three rounds.
Likewise, there was a run on offensive linemen throughout, as wide receivers, running backs and tight ends saw their stock fall.
Despite the uniqueness of the draft, there are still many teams who took advantage of the draft and others who failed to improve the roster much.
Here are the draft’s winners and losers:
The Jaguars absolutely dominated the draft in their first year under a new regime. General Manager David Caldwell found a franchise left tackle in Luke Joeckel, as well as two talented safeties in Jonathan Cyprien and Josh Evans. They also found some possible steals in the undrafted free agency period, such as quarterbacks Matt Scott and Jordan Rodgers. Tight end Ryan Otten is a free agent who could also very easily make the roster.
St. Louis Rams
Wide receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey are instant-impact players who will quickly develop into quarterback Sam Bradford’s favorite targets. Getting linebacker Alec Ogletree at the end of the first round was solid value, as well as finding Alabama do-it-all lineman Barrett Jones in the fourth round.
If first-round selection Ziggy Ansah pans out, he’ll develop into a potential Pro Bowl talent in just a few years. Second-round pick Darius Slay and third-round pick Larry Warford are starters in the NFL. Defensive end Devin Taylor will also experience success playing alongside Ansah, Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. The late-round selection of running back Theo Riddick could pay off as he can be a special teams player and slot receiver or receiving option out of the backfield.
First-round pick Jonathan Cooper will step in right away to improve a rather porous offensive line. Second-round pick Kevin Minter is an instant starter, and the selection of Tyrann Mathieu is a hit-or-miss pick that could pay off. Running backs Stepfan Taylor and Andre Ellington provide some talent in the backfield, and Ellington is capable of being a starter for Arizona. Fourth-round pick Alex Okafor doesn’t necessarily fit as an outside linebacker, but his effort as a pass rusher will be a welcomed addition. Sixth-round selection Ryan Swope can be a reliable slot receiver and will take some of the burden off of Larry Fitzgerald.
The Steelers are going through a bit of a transition period, and their draft certainly didn’t help that. First-round pick Jarvis Jones fits the defense well, but he isn’t nearly as talented as his college statistics suggest. The selections of Le’Veon Bell and Landry Jones were two head-scratchers especially based on what rounds they were selected in.
New England Patriots
While the Patriots needed to add multiple wide receivers in the draft, Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce aren’t players who are going to develop into impact players. It appears that the Patriots are yet again going to completely miss on their wide receiver selections. They also dabbled into the Rutgers prospect pool, however Logan Ryan isn’t a starting-caliber cornerback and he was beat deep on a consistent basis in college. The third-round selection of Duron Harmon is a complete head-scratcher, as he wasn’t expected to even be a selection at any point in the draft.
The team’s first two picks, Barkevious Mingo and Leon McFadden are impact players and starters at the next level. However, the final five rounds were rather unsuccessful for the Browns. They picked up a future third-round pick from the Steelers, but none of their last three picks figure to make an impact in the league. After not drafting a quarterback, the Browns are also putting all of their faith in Brandon Weeden, which could backfire.
The Bears had a rather solid showing on the third day of the draft with the additions of Khaseem Greene, Jordan Mills, Cornelius Washington and Marquess Wilson, who can all contribute early. However, the team’s first two picks, Kyle Long and Jon Bostic, were huge reaches, as both were nothing more than third-round talents at best. Long’s athleticism gives him upside, but his inexperience could lead to struggles early. With Arthur Brown still on the board in the second round, the selection of Bostic was a surprise.